The following is a list of the major rules changes for 2008 that will have the greatest impact on the tour.
You will now be penalized for playing a wrong ball from a hazard. Because of this change, you will be allowed to identify your ball before playing it from a hazard. In a water hazard you willbe able lift your ball if needed to identify it. In a bunker if you alter the lie of your ball in the process of lifting it for identification, the lie of the ball will be recreated. The only exception for not being responsible for identifying your ball is if you are trying to play a ball that is moving in water in a water hazard.
The term “ball lost” is being replaced by the term “ball not found”.
The term “reasonable evidence” is being replaced by the term “virtually certain”. The committee felt virtually certain was a little stronger language and represented the situations in the Rules of Golf book better than reasonable evidence.
The penalty for carrying a nonconforming club has been reduced from disqualification to 2 strokes for each hole the club was carried with a maximum of 4 strokes or adjusting the state of the match in match play with a maximum of a 2 hole adjustment. There is still a penalty of disqualification if a nonconforming club is used during a round.
When your golf ball is in motion and it is stopped or deflected by you, your caddie or your equipment it is now only a 1 stroke penalty instead of a 2 stroke penalty.
If the correct person does not place or replace your golf ball the penalty is now 1 stroke instead of 2 strokes.
If you play a shot from a bunker and the ball remains in the bunker, the area where you played from may be raked without penalty even if the ball subsequently comes back to rest on that spot.
If you play from a hazard and the ball comes to rest in another hazard, there is no penalty for testing the surface of the hazard where you originally played.
A flagstick that is attended, removed or held up may be moved while a ball is in motion with no penalty.
If a player plays from a wrong place with a substituted ball, the penalty is now only 2 strokes instead of 4 strokes.
If a ball that has been dropped touches any person or equipment, the ball must be redropped without penalty.
In a hazard you are allowed to take a firm stance anywhere in the hazard, lean on any obstruction except a club, touch the surface with anything (rake or towel) other than a club, place your clubs in the hazard or mark the position of your ball with a tee or coin. You may not dig your feet in excess in taking your stance, intentionally stick a rake into the surface of the hazard, smooth foot prints that you created before playing, or kick the ground.
If a member of the rules committee has entered the bunker to assist you in finding your ball or for some other reason and the foot prints of the committee person are identifiable, the foot prints of the committee person may be raked before the player plays her next shot.